Archive | Cobalt, Critical, Strategic and Rare Earth Minerals and Metals

Second life for historic Cobalt silver camp – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – January 18, 2018)

Historic mining area near Ontario/Quebec border garnering attention for cobalt resources

The land around the town of Cobalt, despite the name, was once one of the richest silver finds in the nation. Decades after that boom ceased, another one is on the horizon, this time for the town’s namesake.

As demand for electric vehicles grows across the world, one company is taking a second look at the cobalt resources that were once thrown away.

First Cobalt Corp. gave a Jan. 16 presentation in Sudbury on their latest findings and plans to drill on several properties they purchased near Cobalt, many of them historical silver mine sites, to determine the scope and quality of the cobalt resources. Continue Reading →

WoodMac urges automakers to ‘get out their chequebooks’, secure energy metal supplies – by Henry Lazenby ( – January 17, 2018)

VANCOUVER ( – Auto manufacturers are ramping up strategies to cash in on the accelerating worldwide acceptance and demand for electric vehicles (EVs), prompting advice from research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie for automakers to ‘get out their chequebooks’ and take stakes in mines or new mine projects to lock-in future supply.

WoodMac issued a statement on Tuesday, following news that Ford will boost its investment in EVs to $11-billion between 2015 and 2022 – a sharply higher figure than a previously announced target of $4.5-billion by 2020.

Ford also revealed plans to expand its electrified portfolio to include 40 electrified vehicles globally, including 16 full-battery EVs by 2022. It outlined plans to accelerate investment in EVs and sportd utility vehicles (SUVs). Continue Reading →

Car makers may need to take a stake in mines: Wood Mackenzie (Mining Journal – January 17, 2018)

Car makers may need to “get out their chequebooks” and take a stake in mines to guarantee materials for their shift to electric vehicles, according to research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie.

The comments follow automotive giant Ford’s announcement yesterday it would invest US$11 billion by 2022 in electrification, and expand its line-up to 40 EVs globally including 16 full battery EVs by 2022.

Wood Mackenzie director metals markets Gavin Montgomery said Ford planned to use NMC lithium-ion batteries in its EVs and it would be a challenge securing supply of the key raw materials, namely lithium, nickel and cobalt. Continue Reading →

Modern slavery: the true cost of cobalt mining (Hermes Investment Management – January 16, 2018)


Investment capital permeates the global economy, underpinning businesses and supply chains across regions and industries. We believe that investors should not only be aware of the potential for their capital to generate returns but its impact on society and the environment. One such sustainability concern is cobalt mining.

Thousands of artisanal miners dig by hand in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Children, too. They have no industrial tools, no protective clothing, no hard hats, not even facemasks to shield toxic dust or shoes. They are searching for cobalt, the rare-earth metal powering the mobile revolution.

Cobalt is an essential component of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The end product may be in your pocket, on your desk, in your garage, or even in your investment portfolio. It powers most electronic gadgets, including smartphones and laptops, and electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

Column: Why cobalt will struggle to free itself from the DRC – by Andy Home (Reuters – January 15, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – The cobalt market will record a supply surplus both this year and next, according to heavyweight commodities research house CRU. This might seem a little surprising, given all the bullish hype surrounding a metal that more than doubled in price last year.

CRU itself has drastically revised its original assessment of a sustained supply shortfall due to strong demand growth from the battery sector. What has changed its mind?

In short, it’s the return of the Katanga mine after two years of suspended activities. Once fully operational, Katanga will be the “largest cobalt-producing mining project in the world”. (CRU Insight, Jan. 4 2018) Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: RNC Minerals Plans Initiatives To Allow Decision To Begin Construction Of Dumont Nickel-Cobalt Project In 2019; Highlights Large Nickel And Cobalt Reserves

TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2018 /CNW/ – RNC Minerals (TSX: RNX) (“RNC”) expects to undertake a series of initiatives during 2018 to position the company to make a decision to begin construction of the Dumont Nickel-Cobalt Project, which contains the world’s largest undeveloped reserves of both cobalt and nickel, in 2019.

With many market participants expecting explosive growth in nickel and cobalt demand from the electric vehicle market over the coming decade, RNC continues to be approached by a number of potential strategic investors, offtake partners and financiers who could provide the financing required to begin construction.

“The Dumont Nickel-Cobalt Project, one of the world’s premier battery metals projects, contains the world’s largest undeveloped reserves of both cobalt and nickel. It also contains the 2nd largest nickel reserve and the 8th largest cobalt reserve of any deposit in the world,” said Mark Selby, President and CEO of RNC Minerals. Continue Reading →

Hype Meets Reality as Electric Car Dreams Run Into Metal Crunch – by Elisabeth Behrmann, Jack Farchy and Sam Dodge (Bloomberg News – January 11, 2018)

When BMW AG revealed it was designing electric versions of its X3 SUV and Mini, the going rate for 21 kilograms of cobalt—the amount of the metal needed to power typical car batteries—was under $600. Only 16 months later, the price tag is approaching $1,700 and climbing by the day.

For carmakers vying to fill their fleets with electric vehicles, the spike has been a rude awakening as to how much their success is riding on the scarce silvery-blue mineral found predominantly in one of the world’s most corrupt and underdeveloped countries.

“It’s gotten more hectic over the past year,” said Markus Duesmann, BMW’s head of procurement, who’s responsible for securing raw materials used in lithium-ion batteries, such as cobalt, manganese and nickel. “We need to keep a close eye, especially on lithium and cobalt, because of the danger of supply scarcity.” Continue Reading →

Cobalt and 11% Yields Lure Risk-Takers to This Canadian Miner – by Allison McNeely (Bloomberg News – January 10, 2018)

Sherritt International Corp.’s double-digit bond yields are beginning to lure investors, even as questions linger about whether the Canadian miner has unloaded enough debt and turned around its sputtering projects.

The Toronto-based firm restructured its Ambatovy mining joint venture in Madagascar last month, cutting debt by about C$1.3 billion ($1 billion) and ceding most of its stake in the money-losing business. But the nickel mine has never met production goals, and meanwhile an oil and gas venture with the Cuban state oil company has been delayed after failing to reach its first-round drilling target.

Strengthening commodity prices have spurred investors to push Sherritt’s bonds up from their 2017 lows, but skepticism is still reflected in the yield of nearly 11 percent, about twice the level of high-yield peers. In a world where credit spreads are at 10-year lows, the payout is too good to pass up for some investors. Continue Reading →

Congo May More Than Double Tax on Critical Cobalt Supply – by William Clowes and Thomas Wilson (Bloomberg News – January 10, 2018)

The Democratic Republic of Congo is preparing to more than double a tax on two-thirds of global cobalt supply, potentially increasing the cost of the critical battery metal just as the world begins to embrace electric vehicles.

Congo, the world’s biggest cobalt producer, will increase the royalty miners pay on exports of the metal to 5 percent from 2 percent if it opts to categorize cobalt as a “strategic substance,” Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu told the country’s Senate last week.

The new classification is part of an overhaul of mining legislation that is fiercely opposed by the industry, which says the law may deter future investment. Under the revised code, backed by the government and being scrutinized by parliament, the tax on base metals including copper and cobalt will increase to 3.5 percent from 2 percent. Continue Reading →

Cobalt: A Metal Poised to Peak (Startfor Worldview – January 8, 2018)

At Stratfor, we use geopolitics to understand the constraints and advantages that geography confers on a country and the political, technological and economic decisions it compels.

As the demand for electric vehicles increases over the coming decades, so, too, will the demand — and the price — for the raw materials required to produce them. Increased demand for elements such as lithium and cobalt will lead to potential supply bottlenecks over the next several years.

And while the media has touted the potential of lithium — the eponymous component of lithium-ion batteries — to be the raw material that powers the gradual transition away from fossil fuel-reliant transportation, it has understated the significance of one element in the equation: cobalt. Lithium-ion batteries require lithium, yes, but they also require something else. Under the constraints of present technology, that something is, more often than not, cobalt. Continue Reading →

Trump’s order on critical minerals could be a boon for juniors – by William Clarke (Industrial Minerals – January 5, 2018)

A drive to secure supplies of materials used in the defense sector offers opportunities for new miners, but obstacles with permitting must still be overcome.

Unites States President Donald Trump has called for an end to the country’s reliance on foreign sources of critical minerals, including battery materials and rare earths, in a move which could be boon to mining juniors.

The US should increase efforts to identify and exploit domestic resources of critical minerals, Trump said in an executive order signed on December 20, 2017. “It shall be the policy of the Federal government to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals, which constitutes a strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States,” the order said. Continue Reading →

Cobalt price bulls’ worst fears may just have been confirmed – by Frik Els ( – January 4, 2018)

Cobalt prices went ballistic in 2017 with the metal quoted on the LME ending the year at $75,500, a 129% annual surge sparked by intensifying supply fears and an expected demand spike from battery markets. Measured from its record low hit in February 2016, the metal is more than $50,000 more expensive.

Given these lofty levels – and considering that the volatile commodity topped $100,000 a tonne a decade ago – battery makers and energy storage researchers have been working hard to find a substitute for cobalt, or at least reduce the required loading.

Now that breakthrough may just have been made.

Backed by the US Department of Energy, researchers at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering led by professor of materials science and engineering Christopher Wolverton, have developed a lithium battery which replaces cobalt with iron (iron ore was priced at $76 a tonne on Thursday). Continue Reading →

Miners Wager on a Charge in Demand for Canadian Cobalt – by David George-Cosh (Fox Business – January 1, 2018)

Dow Jones Newswires: TORONTO – A handful of Canadian miners are ramping up operations to mine cobalt, betting on demand for a socially responsible source of the metal that is in high demand as a key component of electric cars.

Most cobalt currently comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where supply is threatened by political, legal and labor issues. That means car makers and battery suppliers are increasingly looking elsewhere for the mineral.

Miners in Canada such as Vale SA, which has a cobalt-producing mine in Sudbury, Ontario, Sherritt International Corp., and smaller firms such as Royal Nickel Corp., First Cobalt Corp. and Fortune Minerals Ltd. are raising funds and engaging in exploratory drilling. Continue Reading →

Nickel on the upswing – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – January 3, 2018)

“So, we should remember that the many sustainable mining
practices — lowering carbon emissions, mine safety and an
96 per cent reductions in sulphur emissions since 1970, just
to name a few — done in the Sudbury Basin to supply the
necessary nickel, copper and cobalt puts this community in
a leading role in the transition to a green auto future.

“Both the provincial and federal levels of government should
recognize this important fact and ensure none of their green
energy policies hinder the future growth of this strategic
sector.” (Stan Sudol –

It looks like 2018 will be a very good year for nickel. Last month, world metal markets closed for the Christmas break with nickel on an upswing. The metal reached $5.46/pound U.S., more than $1 U.S. higher than the average price of $4.43/pound U.S. in the first half of the year..

The $5.46 U.S. price was also 23 cents higher than the $5.23U.S. recorded back on Nov. 27. The amount of nickel sitting in London Metal Exchange warehouses –another indicator of where prices are headed — is also showing signs of life. On Nov. 27, there were 382,362 tonnes of nickel in the warehouses. But as of Dec. 20, the total had fallen to 373,400. Continue Reading →

Can the electric car industry bring this ghost town back to life? – by Sidney Stevens (Mother Nature Network – December 31, 2017)

Like so many mining towns throughout North America, Cobalt, Ontario has seen better days. The silver rush that transformed the modest community, located 300 miles north of Toronto, into a vibrant boomtown during the early 1900s has long since died away.

Today, the sleepy hamlet — some call it a ghost town — still bears scars from those heady, get-rich-quick days. The borough, built atop a honeycomb of abandoned mining tunnels, is not only littered with waste rock and capped mine shafts but also plagued by poverty.

But its fortunes could soon reverse. Cobalt, population 1,100, is poised to flourish once more due to its rich stores of the metal cobalt. Ironically, the town known for its silver was actually named for this shiny, bluish-gray ore. At the time it was mostly ignored. But not anymore. Continue Reading →